Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16 -18
Sometimes life can throw us a few curve balls – also referred to as bumps in the road, hurdles, challenges – you know what I mean. Whether big or small, if it isn’t something pleasant, we often wonder why this terrible thing has happened. I have come to learn that much of the time we will not be given the answer to that question. We may not be able to see the good that comes out of an awful situation, although someone else may; or we may see that good result some years down the road. What it all really comes down to is completely trusting God – even when everything seems like a complete mess.
It was eight years ago this month that I opened my own business. It was a coffee shop and café. I spent a year learning the business, putting together my business plan and saving my money. I had no doubts this was going to be a big success! The five years that I owned that business were some of the toughest years of my life. The business required that I work many hours, quite often without pay. It also meant being too tired to go out with friends, being too broke to go out for dinner and spending much of my waking hours trying to figure out how to do business better. I learned how to create a budget, follow a budget and how to respond to unexpected circumstances that impact business. It was those unexpected circumstances that would make me cry out to God, “Why are you having me do this? I thought this was what you wanted me to do! What am I doing wrong? Where are You?” Although the business was profitable, it certainly was nothing to brag about and it definitely was not helping me build up savings for my retirement years. So, after five years, with mixed feelings of sadness and relief, I sold the coffee shop. I wondered if I just wasted five years of my life – what could I possibly have gained from this?
It is now three years since I sold my coffee shop, and I cannot think of a better training ground for what I am doing today than the five years I spent owning that business. Running a nonprofit organization is not unlike running a for-profit business, but it does seem to have a few more of those “unexpected circumstances.” These do not surprise me or throw me off, anymore. The five years I was in business taught me that “freaking out” does no good. I’ve learned to pause, to trust in God and to lean on Him – always! I’ve learned that God is in the details, including the ones we don’t see. I can see God in the details of the coffee shop, now, even though at the time I felt that God had stepped back from me. Instead, He was teaching me, preparing me for what was ahead. I now thank God for those five years, but I should have started thanking Him then! I hope you can see God’s hand in your life, especially when it has seemed a mess. Maybe you can think of a tough time that you’ve been through and found later that it worked out for good (Romans 8:28). Use that time as a reminder of this truth the next time things get tough. Remember God is in the details and that He will show you those details in His perfect timing. For this reason, it does make sense to give thanks in all circumstances; for when we do, we are living examples that there is hope along the way.
We give thanks for this guest post by Colleen Prudhomme, Executive Director of Christian Recovery Counseling.